Executive Interview : Industry Update - Interview With Hui Wu-Curtis from Choice Hotels International
ContactCenterWorld.com wants to touch base with its members from all corners of the globe in order to get a real sense of the industry in their part of the world. In this interview, we sit down with Hui Wu-Curtis from Choice Hotels International in the United States for her thoughts on the past, current and future as she sees it.
In your opinion, what has been the greatest challenge the contact center industry has faced in the last 12 months?
Integration of data from multiple channels into one, to seamlessly deliver a great customer experience, and the ability to leverage that enterprise view of data for more targeted servicing.
Why do you believe has this been a challenge?
It continues to be a challenge of juggling cost and need. It goes along with the evolution of contact centers and now is coming more full circle to be leveraged as a functional unit that has a wealth of information and the ability to influence customers.
In 2015, what do you think will be the top priorities in the contact center industry for each of the following: a) Contact Center Directors b) Company Executives c) IT Directors d) Human Resources Directors
A) Directors: Making a business case for new generation of technology solutions for channel integration.
B) Company Executives: Reduction in cost or ways to generate more revenue through contact center channels.
C) IT Directors: Bandwidth to support various technology improvements, new technology, etc.
D) HR Directors: Continuing to groom talent within the contact center for career progression and reduce attrition. Finding competitive talent.
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What technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the industry over the next 12 months?
Finding a solution that can help an organization leverage data from all of the various channels and using that information to customize offerings to various customers and stakeholders.
What impact have "external events" even had on your company, and how have you adapted your business?
We use outsourcing partners mostly in Central America and certain demographic locations are now experiencing market competition, saturation, etc. and struggling to staff to volumes. We had to take a step back to re-evaluate our global positioning and portfolio of vendor partners to get that right mix of talent and staffing from a more global perspective.
Do you feel the service you personally get as a customer is better or worse than it was a year ago?
I believe it has gotten better. I experience more contact center interactions from the voice channel that is more positive and consistent in customer service. Yet, as we introduce new channels such as social media, text messaging, etc., we as an industry, continue to struggle with defining and delivering that service.
For contact center execs ONLY: How do you intend to improve your contact center in 2015?
For us, it is all about continuous improvement and forward innovation.
What contact center technology or other innovation excites you the most as an Executive in the contact center industry?
Accessibility to customers (and vice versa) in multiple channels and seeing who is the first to market with the most comprehensive delivery solution followed by consistent, proven results.
What has been the most important contact center related conversation topic last year and what are your views on this?
Staffing and quality seemed to be big topics for us in 2014. These are not new topics and continue to elude many contact centers. I believe that in our industry, it is time to rethink quality and tie it more closely with customer experience. For staffing, this will continue to be a critical issue that feed into the quality element for improvements and sustainable performance.
Can you share a great story of service you received when contacting a contact center in the past year?
American Express: I called AMEX because I had lost my credit card. The way they answer the phone, readily having my information in front of them to expedite the call, has always been consistently great service! The agent I dealt with sounds fantastic on the phone - personable, upbeat, knowledgeable and confident. More importantly, I received a replacement card in just 2-days!!! AMEX's customer service from the front end call to the back-end fulfillment is stellar.
What do you think will be the buzz word / focus for the contact center industry this year?
SMS/Texting and Social Media.
Lastly, what do you think 2015 holds for the industry?
With the economy picking up and organizations finding their niche, I believe it will be a very good year for the industry. Whether you are a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) provider, client or company starting a call center, demands and knowledge are shifting. BPO providers are being asked to do more and be more innovative and faster to market with solutions. It will be a great year to really push our industry outside its comfort zone and help redefine old practices.
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About Choice Hotels:
Choice Hotels International is a hospitality holding corporation which is affiliated with several hotel brands and is based in Rockville, Maryland.
Published: Friday, April 29, 2016
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